Video proof of Verizon throttling Netflix


#1

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#2

Ok Verizon, what’s your excuse this time?


#3

except that… often UDP traffic that is hit and miss flows better through a VPN connection. Old trick by many a sysadmin using bad coffee-house WiFi connections (low throughput or long path=long delays) to make streaming video or duplex voice or video more usable. Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by (Verizon’s) stupidity (in monitoring UDP flows).


#4

This is compelling evidence, but strictly speaking you can’t tell if it’s evidence of Verizon throttling Neflix, or Netflix throttling Verizon, or a third party throttling traffic from Netflix to Verizon. When I tried to understand this issue before, some ISP nerds appeared to think it could be any or all of the above (for complicated ISP political reasons). Although, Verizon in general does seem far eviler than Netflix.

From what I can tell, net neutrality is a complicated thing to define when one player is so large that it polarizes the flow of traffic across the whole internet. Hopefully though, with well-designed regulation, these companies will be forced to sort out their thrilling ISP-nerd feuds among themselves without spraying consumers in the crossfire.


#5

This is the most amusing thing I’ve read today. I can never find one when I need one.


#6

Let’s be clear here: this test doesn’t clearly indicate that Netflix is being throttled. As the linked article about the test says:

My hypothesis here was that by connecting to a VPN, my traffic might end up getting routed through uncongested tubes. Basically, if Verizon is not upgrading the tubes that go to Netflix, maybe I can connect to a different location (via VPN) first where Verizon will have good performance and there will be no congestion between location 2 and and Netflix.

In other words, depending on the actual path his traffic is passing through to the two different locations (to Netflix, and to his VPN peer), his VPN peer may just be reached through a path that is not congested while the direct connection to Netflix is on a path that does have congestion. It would be really interesting to see traceroutes to the two different locations from him.

Of course, if this is just Verizon dragging their feet on getting agreements to upgrade peering connections with CogentLevel3 then it’s still crappy of them. But that’s very different from targeted throttling of specific traffic.

(edited because I just read the beginning of the linked post a little more closely, and I see that he links to an article by Level3 about the congestion issue between Level3 and Verizon. “It takes two parties to remove congestion at an interconnect point.”)


#7

I wonder how this stands up to the laws regarding fraudulent business practices. I’m paying for the internet at a given speed, and I expect to get that speed when connecting to any data-source that is willing to send at that speed. The ISP has already been paid for that bandwidth, by me. That’s what my $X/month is for.

I’d rather strongly object to being held hostage by my ISP as a bargaining chip in what amounts to nothing more than a glorified extortion racket shake-down.


#8

Level 3 calls bullshit on Verizon:

“Verizon’s Accidental Mea Culpa”


#9

The problem here is there is no way Verizon can guarantee anything that is outside of its direct sphere of influence, and really, they shouldn’t.
By having the bottleneck deliberately on the interconnect they can say true things like “We need to agree on how to pay for this” when the disagreement is wholly on their part.

Its really hard though to prove bad faith on any business these days since there is so much precedent that denying the truth long enough actually works.


#10

Lets be clear here, you’ve mentioned several possibilities but they aren’t all equivalently plausible.
some are simpler, some are more complex.

The simplest of course is that Verizon is attempting to do the same thing Comcast and AT&T have already done.

I would actually believe that since not reaching an agreement and purposefully throttling traffic have the exact same outcome, they are essentially the same thing.


#11

Its not hit or miss, its design by upgrading selective hardware to cause this, thus promoting Verizon’s competing video services. Other applications such as games that happen to be harmed are simply collateral damage.


#12

Wow. That would be something huh?


#13

I actually mentioned a single possibility as an alternative to this article’s title assertion of “Verizon throttling Netflix”. And the possibility I mentioned is the one that both the linked article’s author and Level3 themselves said is happening. If you disagree with them, I hope you have something solid to add other than just “this is the simplest possibility”.

Not upgrading a peering connection that large numbers of parties are communicating across, and purposefully throttling Netflix traffic, are two entirely different things with entirely different impact. Both may result in Netflix doing things to get around the problem, but only one of them really directly targets Netflix in a meaningful way. That’s like saying that bombing a single house and destroying an entire city have the exact same outcome. Maybe to the occupants of the house, but they’re not the only ones involved.


#14

What you’ll find is that your contract clearly states “up to” whatever your maximum speed is, and that Verizon actually guarantees nothing. Which is as it should be, since while in this case it may be them causing deliberate congestion, it’s clearly impossible for them to control how the entire Internet works - and your bandwidth is entirely dependent on the server you’re talking to and everyone in between.

So the right answer is to switch ISPs, if you can, and sooner rather than later, before “Net Neutrality” goes into effect and you lose what few choices you have. If you’re unhappy with your choices, you should fight to get the FCC and the state governments out of the ISP business and open it up to competition, which is the only thing that will put a stop to this monopolistic fuckery.


#15

I stream Netflix at full 1080p. It’s quick to start, it NEVER stutters or buffers, and almost never degrades the quality.

How? I don’t use Verizon. I’ve got a good ISP who doesn’t throttle Netflix.


#16

I’m trying my hardest to keep my sarcasm filters working here, but your post is still hitting me slightly off center so I hope you don’t mind if I try to dissect it.

“What you’ll find is that your contract clearly states “up to” whatever
your maximum speed is, and that Verizon actually guarantees nothing.
Which is as it should be, since while in this case it may be them
causing deliberate congestion, it’s clearly impossible for them to
control how the entire Internet works”

I’m not sure claiming up to is “how it should be”. If they can give me network averages over time periods with a mean and standard deviation I would have a much better idea of the actual performance. Up to just means you grabbed your peak throughput and are bragging about it in marketing terms, with no regard to statistics that are actually meaningful. true, you don’t control the whole pipe but there are a lot more meaningful statistics than “peak” for everyone but the marketroids.

“So the right answer is to switch ISPs, if you can”…

most in the US can’t in a meaningful way.

… “and sooner rather than later, before “Net Neutrality” goes into effect and you lose what few choices you have.”

I’m going to take the charitable view here and assume you are saying that what the FCC us currently referring to as Net Neutrality really isn’t.

“If you’re unhappy with your choices, you should fight to get the FCC and
the state governments out of the ISP business and open it up to
competition, which is the only thing that will put a stop to this
monopolistic fuckery.”

I hope you are referring to real competition, and with oversight still existing. Otherwise, this just sounds like ultra libertarian or conservative “The invisible hand of the market” will save us crap. While I agree the current FCC establishment is far too cable company friendly, leaning on government agencies and representatives is still a viable option, and the idea that collusion between market powers and monopolies only can happen with government agencies supporting them is the straw man argument that will likely keep the monopolies in place longer.

You need checks and balances, and if they have been corrupted they need to be fixed or replaced, not eliminated.


#17

Hi, Chris,
As this is your first post on the BBS, and you only created the account around the same time @Melted_Crayons posted something negative about Verizon, it looks like you created a BB account for the sole purpose of defending Verizon.

Welcome to BoingBoing, we look forward to hearing more from you.


#18

Which ISP is that, and is it available nationwide?


#19

Why would Verizon (or any cable company) want to help a competitor who streams content via internet?
Wouldn’t satisfied streaming customers cancel cable so they could finally only have to pay for what they want to watch, via internet, rather than paying for hundreds of cable channels that they don’t want?


#20

wow. i had thought verizon fios was fast and an attractive possibility. until now. that’s insane that going thru a vpn actually resulted in a faster throughput.

verizon’s probably not intentionally throttling the netflix connection. they probably have some bottlenecks that manifest beyond a certain threshold — think of traffic jams, except with data channels instead of cars…

verizon’s cto needs to get a handle on what the problem(s) are and address them promptly before customers start cancelling their service en masse…